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Today sees the launch of a brand new project for Into Film. Focusing on the Greater Manchester area, Opening Minds, Transforming Lives aims to increase social cohesion in the local community through the power of film.
Funded by The Big Lottery Fund, the project targets children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, introducing them to Manchester's rich filmmaking heritage and giving them a greater appreciation for their local community and their place within it.
The project also aims to increase young people's personal, educational and vocational development through collaboration with local arts and media organisations, including Cornerhouse Cinema, Manchester Museum, Z-arts and the People's History Museum.
The project will see 150 film clubs set up in schools and youth settings across Greater Manchester, with each new leader given full training and support to help run their club successfully.
Already running a film club in the area is Sau-Mai Rawcliffe, Assistant Head of English at Prestwich Arts College. She has been introducing her students to a range of cinema for four years, and has seen first hand the benefits:
"It's a pleasure, every week, to see students from a variety of backgrounds show their appreciation of film. In particular, students with SEN have really engaged with certain themes and issues that have arisen in films. Into Film has definitely broadened their minds, as well as providing a sanctuary from the rest of the school."
To further inspire the students, Into Film have created a bespoke "Greater Manchester On Film" topic, including films set in the local area and involving local talent, from young stars like Nico Mirallegro to cinematic stalwarts like Danny Boyle.
By the time the project comes to an end in 2016, it will have empowered almost 4,000 people, providing them access to inspirational learning environments and helping to close the gap for people from areas of disadvantage. Into Film trustee and retired headteacher Sir Alasdair Macdonald is effusive about film's ability to help with closing the gap - watch his speech from Into Film's launch event earlier this year below.